This week’s Labor History Today: Organizing through the Divide
Author and historian Peter Rachleff and longtime labor educator and organizer Bill Fletcher Jr. explore labor’s connections to Richmond’s Robert E. Lee statue. PLus: A union-made Halloween.
Contributors: Race Capitol podcast; Labor History in 2.
Last week’s show: O Canada, organize!
A coal mine explosion in Spangler, Pa. kills 79. The mine had been rated gaseous in 1918, but at the insistence of new operators it was rated as non-gaseous even though miners had been burned by gas on at least four occasions - 1922
Some 1,300 building trades workers in eastern Massachusetts participated in a general strike on all military work in the area to protest the use of open-shop (a worksite in which union membership is not required as a condition of employment) builders. The strike held on for a week in the face of threats from the U.S. War Department - 1917
President Eisenhower’s use of the Taft-Hartley Act is upheld by the Supreme Court, breaking a 116-day steel strike - 1959
Lemuel Ricketts Boulware dies in Delray Beach, Fla. at age 95. As a GE vice president in the 1950s he created the policy known as Boulwarism, in which management decides what is "fair" and refuses to budge on anything during contract negotiations. IUE President
Paul Jennings described the policy as "telling the workers what they are entitled to and then trying to shove it down their throats." - 1990
20,000 workers, black and white, stage general strike in New Orleans, demanding union recognition and hour and wage gains - 1892
President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces plans for the Civil Works Administration to create four million additional jobs for the Depression-era unemployed. The workers ultimately laid 12 million feet of sewer pipe and built or made substantial improvements to 255,000 miles of roads, 40,000 schools, 3,700 playgrounds, and nearly 1,000 airports (not to mention 250,000 outhouses still badly needed in rural America) - 1933
In one of the U.S. auto industry’s more embarrassing missteps over the last half-century, the Ford Motor Co. decides to name their new model the Edsel, after Henry Ford’s only son. Ford executives rejected 18,000 other potential names - 1956
- David Prosten